"Community" is in Decline
In Lower Manhattan on Wednesday, a ticker tape parade celebrated the US Women's Soccer Team. Of course, they deserved this level of recognition. Their play was dominating and extraordinary. The parade moved from battery park to city hall, and when the women arrived, they were greeted with a banner that read: "One nation, one team".
If - only - that were the case.
Instead, it was sad to see that partisanship seeped into people's reactions to the world cup champions. Again, politics intruded on yet another area that should've been a unifier for the nation.
Long before the final match, team Co-Captain Megan Rapinoe famously said she'd not visit the "F ing white house", which drew a pointed response from the President who said he'd nevertheless extend an invite. After winning the world cup, Rapinoe said she was unaware of a single teammate who'd be willing to go. No surprise then that a formal invitation to the White House has yet to follow, but at the opposite end of Pennsylvania Avenue, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Nancy Pelosi said they'd welcome a visit of the champions to congress: an opportunity to which Rapinoe was receptive.
And so instead of the universal feting of these remarkable women on capitol hill, we'll again be separated into our red and blue corners. And we can cross one more item off the diminishing list of common ground that we have as Americans.
Military service used to be a common denominator, but without mandatory conscription, that burden is shared by very few. Gone are the days when we watched the same TV shows in great number; there's too much choice for that. We get our news from opposite ends of the spectrum. Local newspapers used to provide community glue, but they are being shuttered. And, technology generally has enabled us to associate with the like-minded, bypassing interaction with people who come from different places and hold differing viewpoints.
Tolerance is fleeting; unification is rare. And, "Community" is in decline.
And nothing has contributed to that like partisan bickering. It used to be that our internal differences stopped at the water's edge. But, 2016 marked the ending of that thinking - when even the foreign meddling in a presidential election was viewed through partisan lenses. Gone are the days that we'd unite against a common foe, whether in the world court or on a soccer pitch.